Monday, January 5, 2015

The Curious Case of Resources in Draenor

Since the launch of Warlords of Draenor I've been focused largely on my Garrison(s). Currently I'm sitting on six garrisons (five at level 2 and one at level 3), I've been grinding professions and crafting some large pieces here and there. A trend has emerged however, crafted goods just aren't what they used to be. It's easy to panic in this early expansion environment, it's also easy to be too passive and assume things will right themselves somewhere down the line. Both of these positions are dangerous to your gold hoard. But before we get too far into that, let's talk about what has changed specifically with regards to our commodities...

For years, the accepted method of reliably generating obscene amounts of gold has revolved around the idea that you gather base materials, or material goods. Process these into refined goods or crafted goods. Some materials proved more universally viable than others, leather has always been sort of the odd man out. Yes, you might need a few pieces of refined leather to craft an epic Cloak. But generally speaking Herbs and Ore have been far more valuable.

In Vanilla, Herbs were by far the leader (Enchanting dust notwithstanding). The reason was quite simple, demand for potions was astronomical. In an environment where each raider could quaf multiple potions during a single encounter, you had a customer base that was ravenous for Health, Mana, and Fire Resist potions. Then Blizzard decided to cap potion use to one per character during an encounter. This increased the challenge of some encounters, it also decreased the demand for potions and by extension herbs dramatically.

In Burning Crusade a new profession was added: Jewelcrafting. And with it came gems and socket bonuses, the demand for these gems was decent early on. And as Arena became more prevalent and raiders began getting their hands on more items with an odd socket or two, the demand rose for those gems and for Ore from which to refine them. Alchemists also received specializations Potions, Elixirs, and Transmutations. The savvy began making armies of alts to transmute gems multiples times per day, thereby basically conjuring gold from thin air.

The Birth of Shuffling: Though not quite as popular as it would later become, the shuffle emerged at this time. Gather a load of Ore, process and craft jewelry, cut gems. Disenchant the jewelry, sell dust or enchant items for people. This would take off full speed in the next expansion however...

By the time Wrath of the Lich King dropped and Inscriptions entered the game, herbs suddenly became HUGELY popular again. The initial model introduced for switching glyphs to customize your character guaranteed a consistent demand for the glyphs. Sometimes I'd have people buy whole stacks of glyphs at a time so they'd be able to switch as necessary. This was later changed, so that people learned the glyph as they do now. But for a time, it was basically a license to print gold - assuming you could get your hands on enough ink, and therefore herbs to craft those glyphs.

Inscriptions also introduced the Enchanting Scrolls, finally enchanters could sell their enchants without trading the item as we had in the past. We could enchant items for alts or twinks suddenly with utter ease. And such an opportunity open, the gold making tri force was now complete. The Ore Shuffle began in earnest. Coupled with the sale of gems and glyphs, piles of gold could be generated with ease.

Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria refined things a bit, a number of glyphs were removed, etc. Profits weren't as good as the mean old days of Wrath, and frankly they probably never will be (if you're bringing in 70-100k on glyphs in a single day, you've found your high water mark). In general, I don't see much from Cata and MoP that was earthshaking with regards to professions. Buying recipes from the vendors with daily tokens, etc is about it and then we went back to Draenor...

I'm not saying the sky is falling, we don't have a babies having babies with monsters scenario here. What we have is a paradigm shift. Resources are suddenly readily available, and since we can't prospect anymore (a major point of contention for me) once you're level 100 you'll start to build a stockpile of Ores of both varieties pretty quickly. My main is a Jeweler and Enchanter, as he has always been. After filling the Work Order que each morning, I'm left with a stack each of the ores, plus some extra. The spares I toss in the gbank along with various other items.

I burn my cooldowns, creating some Crystals (with multiple enchanters). Do my JC dailies (again, multiple Jewelers). Collect Salvage from Missions, disenchant anything over 500 ilvl that won't be used. Vendor the rest, and when I've completed this for all of my characters then I get to play the game...

That's where people are, and it's by design.

As my alts get increasingly higher level I'll unlock the Garden on multiple characters. That will add a little more time, but also even more materials to my gbank stock. I'll have potions to make, but frankly I'm not raiding anymore, I'm seriously considering PVP though this expansion so I'll likely begin developing a stock of pots for that. Just this weekend I caught up on my Inscription Research, giving MoP a miss made that more time consuming than it needed to be. Still, it wasn't bad. And I only used the Herbs I gathered from a single Garden to do it.

So the big question is, now what? Welcome to the head of your average customer. Their needs are different than they were in other expansions. We can all craft some gear or buy it with Apexis Crystals. We can all enchant our stuff, etc. So what we need are not Crafted Goods, but Trade Goods and Refined Goods. Gems are up at a good value right now on Blackhand, a Greater Crit gem is around 1500g. And someone will buy it, in a day or two. Recrystalizers on the other hand, those sell fairly quickly. I can make five of those in the time it takes me to make a single Greater Crit. I get about 400 each for those. So, more basically. And I'm not waiting around until I have enough materials to craft more until I sell the item.

Sockets aren't guaranteed anymore, gems just aren't as popular (and they won't be unless something changes). But there's lots of people needing to reroll stats on that Necklace they made, or those Plate Shoulders. Which brings me to my next point, if you don't have the right stats and if you're not actively barking in trade chat trying to sell the item, the epic crafted gear is almost an utter waste of time for gold making purposes.

The few times I've sold a crafted epic to someone it's been because I found someone in trade chat who was willing to gamble on good stats. But if you pull a caster cloak with Spirit and Multistrike you've got a limited market for selling that item unless you reroll the stats yourself. In which case, you've just wasted more gold trying to make the thing marketable, before you know it you've rerolled 5 times and you're asking yourself, "why don't I just sell these?" because there's a guy in the Auction House who just made 2k off of you when you rerolled your way to marketable stats.

That's the new normal, that's the biggest truth of making gold WoD right now. The old ways work, but only to a point. Patience and observation as ever pays huge dividends, don't be afraid to innovate. And remember, a sucker opens the auction house every second of every day. Don't let that sucker be you.

Blood Champion Khaas

No comments :

Post a Comment